GEORGE Affleck, BC Liberal candidate for Vancouver-Fairview, on Monday alleged that the BC NDP is engaged in a multi-million dollar real estate scheme with representatives from some of B.C.’s biggest unions. He said British Columbians deserve answers.
Affleck claimed that documents obtained from Elections BC, the BC Land Title Office, and the BC Registrar of Companies reveal that a shell company called the West 7th Avenue Property Society, controlled by the NDP, purchased real estate holdings worth $5.2 million last year. The shell company’s board of directors included senior officials representing the BC Federation of Labour, BC Building Trades, CUPE BC, the Health Sciences Association, and the Broadbent Institute — some of the NDP’s most active supporters.
“This shady backroom deal between the NDP and B.C.’s top union bosses doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Affleck. “The NDP and the West 7th Avenue Property Society need to come clean and release all the documents related to this real estate scheme and their other financial dealings.”
According to Affleck, the documents suggest the NDP pays rent for its headquarters to the shell company it controls, raising serious questions about financial transparency — and what the shell company is doing with the rent payments it funnels from the NDP.
He alleged that in 2019, the NDP also exploited an Election Act loophole to sell advertising to the unions represented on the shell company’s board, as well as the Broadbent Institute and Community Savings Credit Union — which provided the mortgage used to purchase the property.
According to Affleck, Community Savings Credit Union serves the majority of B.C.’s union organizations and is a partner of the Community Benefits Coalition of BC — an organization closely linked to the NDP’s sweetheart deal with the BC Building Trades that excludes 85 per cent of BC construction workers from public sector projects. Community Savings’ board members include former BC Fed President Irene Lanzinger and former BC Building Trades president Lee Loftus.
Affleck said that questions the NDP and the West 7th Avenue Property Society need to answer include:
- Why did the NDP cook up this secretive scheme with the West 7th Avenue Property Society, instead of just purchasing the real estate directly?
- Is the West 7th Avenue Property Society charging the BC NDP a market rental rate for their headquarters?
- Who is renting the second office unit purchased by the West 7th Avenue Property Society, and are they paying a market rental rate?
- How is the West 7th Avenue Property Society using the rental income funneled into it by the BC NDP?
- Does the mortgage provided by Community Savings Credit Union comply with s. 181(2) of the BC Election Act?
- Were NDP attorney general David Eby and his political staff aware of this real estate scheme when they were drafting the NDP’s amendments to the BC Election Act?
- As MLA, did NDP candidate Rachna Singh, a director of the West 7th Avenue Property Society, vote on legislation that affects the society and its dealings? If so, has she declared a conflict of interest?
“As British Columbians go to the polls in this pandemic election, they deserve to know every detail of the NDP’s dealings with this shell company and the unions represented on its board,” said Affleck. “The NDP claims to be working for all British Columbians, but it sure looks like they’re working for the special interests that support them financially and keep them in power.”